USGS Survey of the Bakken and Three Forks | VideoJennifer Joas | 5/23/2012
"Production has increased, technology has changed since then, so we take that all into account when we reassess the Bakken formation," said Stephanie Gaswirth, USGS Research Geologist.
That is why the USGS began reassessing the Bakken last October, along with surveying the Three Forks Formation, which has never been done before. Despite the fact that everyone is looking for answers, geologists are not yet releasing their new estimate of the Bakken and Three Forks.
"I could not say at this time. The Three Forks was obviously not done in 2008. So that will be a new number; we are starting that from scratch. The Bakken number could stay roughly the same, it could go up, it could go down," said Gaswirth.
The USGS will not say if its estimate of the Bakken will increase but state leaders say they expect it to.
"Our numbers are now between 10 and 14 billion barrels of oil. In order to be in that ballpark, they have to at least double their number," said Lynn Helms, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director.
Some industry representatives also say the USGS numbers are conservative.
"Many in the industry think the most recent USGS survey is very conservative. I have heard some in industry estimate over 20 billion barrels of oil," said Jack Gerard, API President and CEO.
The USGS has sampled and examined the cores, collected production data and spoken with 15 companies operating in the Bakken to collect their new estimate. The USGS does not plan to release its final estimate until the end of next year.